Health & Wellness

10 Defense Mechanisms Used by Someone Who Was Abused as a Child

Defense mechanisms are actions that folk make the most of to separate themselves from dangerous experiences, occasions, or reflections. These psychological ways might assist people detach from their fears or undesirable emotions, such as guilt or embarrassment. They are sometimes noticed in adults that had trauma from their childhood.

The numerous traumas might be bodily, verbal, or sexually associated. The idea of protection mechanisms derives from psychoanalytical philosophy, a psychological viewpoint of a character that sees temperament as the collaboration amongst three important parts: the id, ego, and superego.

According to Freud Files, this notion was initially urged by Sigmund Freud, however over time many specialists argue that these mechanisms should not one thing that a individual has any management over. Furthermore, many people perform these actions with out realizing that they’re doing it as it’s turn into a common a part of their lives.



These mechanisms are a pure factor of psychological development and basic coping talent. Pinpointing which of them you utilize and your family members might help you in future relationships.

10 Defense Mechanisms That Might Show Someone Was Abused as a Child

Traumas from the previous can dictate the longer term in case you enable it, however you’ll be able to study efficient coping strategies. Typically, a youngster who grew up in an abusive state of affairs may have unresolved points from the upbringing.

However, it’s doable to make use of psychological ways to beat the uncomfortable emotions that abuse leaves behind. Here are the commonest protection mechanisms utilized that may reveal a background of abuse.

1. Displacement

In displacement, you shift all of the feelings you’re feeling and put them onto a individual or object that isn’t as intimidating. You get to react to the state of affairs, however you’re not going to have the extreme penalties chances are you’ll expertise. One straightforward means chances are you’ll displace your feelings is whenever you’ve had a horrible day on the office, you come dwelling and blow up in your youngster.

Your child isn’t the goal of your feelings, however you let off some steam on them that was meant for the workplace. However, had you skilled such a verbal explosion on the office, then you might have lost your job. Your youngster was a comfy goal individuals to make use of to vent.

2. Sublimation

Unlike among the different methods, this mechanism is extra of a constructive nature. In this protection method, you’ll direct your emotions onto a protected object. An occasion of this could possibly be that you just’re upset since you had a fender bender on the way in which dwelling from work.

Rather than taking it out on your loved ones, you select to do some train to get out your anger. It’s a protected and wholesome solution to take care of painful points. Adults that have been abused as a youngster might hit the fitness center incessantly to maintain them mentally healthy.

3. Intellectualization

When a situation that really tries your patience hits you, it’s normal to remove all your emotions from this event. Rather than blowing off steam and losing your cool, you try to focus on the facts. This strategy is often used by someone who has experienced neglect or abuse in the past as it teaches them not to overreact to stimuli but rather take situations at face value.

4. Denial

Of all the defense mechanisms used by abused children, denial is by far the most utilized. If you cannot accept reality or the facts as they’re being presented to you, then you will deny them adamantly. You’re so convincing with your denial that you might even believe it too.

The reason you deny is that you have blocked certain instances so that you don’t have to relive them again. The pain is too great, so you don’t want to go there. Being “in denial” is an everyday catchphrase use by folks today. However, most have no clue what they’re really saying.

Whether a victim of child abuse or another trauma, denial allows you to avoid dealing with too painful or embarrassing things.

5. Regression

Regression is another relatively common tactic used when the brain needs to escape. For instance, if you were a victim of verbal abuse, then your brain may try to regress to an earlier time.

While these actions are typically seen in children, it’s not out of the ordinary for an adult either. Children may regress to bad habits like bedwetting or sucking their thumb, but adults may engage in past activities.

Have you ever seen a girl go through a breakup on television? She may grab a stuffed animal her ex-boyfriend got her and cuddle up with it. She is regressing to her past when she felt comfortable holding her teddy bears.

Other activities adults might engage in could be chewing on pencils or turning to food for comfort.

6. Compartmentalization

If you’ve been through abuse, then it might be commonplace for you to categorize your life or put the facets of your life into individual sections. By doing this, your brain can cope with all the different aspects. Do you refuse to discuss your personal life at work?

Some people are just more private than others, but you can function without anxiety when you block off sections of your life from common knowledge. If you don’t want people to know who your parents or spouse is, then you feel better when you keep this part of your life private.

7. Repression – Mental Blocks

When terrifying thoughts or painful memories come to the service, it’s easy to be upset by irrational beliefs. Rather than facing these beliefs head-on, many people choose to hide them. The goal is to forget about them altogether, but that doesn’t mean that will happen.

Some may refer to this as a mental block as one blocks terrible memories from their mind. Sadly, you may try to forget, but the body has a way of keeping score. These painful recurrences can impact future relationships and your behaviors.

Many people try to use these mechanisms as a defense line, but they have no clue the impact it may have on them in the future.

8. Inadvertent Projection

It’s normal to have some uncomfortable feelings when you’re a victim of abuse. When you think of your abuser or the events that have occurred, it can cause anxiety and severe emotional distress. However, you can inadvertently project these feelings onto someone else.

Let’s assume that you have a new co-worker that moved into your cubical pod. You immediately decide that you don’t like this person, even though they have done nothing to you to warrant these feelings. It’s because their actions remind you of a person that you don’t like or may have hurt you in the past.

9. Reaction Formation

In this defense line, a person is fully aware of their negative feelings; however, they want to behave in a completely different manner. An example would be getting angry because the electric company didn’t get your payment and tacked on a late fee.

Rather than getting all upset at the disconnection notice, you choose to take the high or positive road. You call the electric company and explain that the check was cashed way before the due date, and you provide documentation as such. You didn’t need to blow a gasket to get results.

Some victims choose not to express any negative emotions. They believe that there is always a resolution that is bathed in optimism.

10. Restructuring

Your mind can only cope with embarrassing or painful memories by reconstructing them. For instance, you try to concoct facts to explain situations rather than dealing with the truth. By engaging in defense mechanisms, you can feel more at ease with the things that have happened to you, even if you know the tales you tell aren’t accurate in your heart.

For instance, if your mother was an alcoholic and drug user, and she often hit you in her drunkenness, you might explain to people that she had an illness that she tried to self-medicate. While it sounds better in your mind, you’re ignoring the fact that she abused you. There is never any reason for abuse, regardless of the underlying circumstances.

Final Thoughts on Defense Mechanisms from Child Abuse

Whether the abuse that you suffered happened once or repetitively over many years, the impact that it leaves behind lasts forever. By utilizing one of the ten defense mechanisms listed above, you learn to cope with the pain and go about life.

However, while some of these mechanisms are excellent and positive coping skills, others are very destructive and can hurt your relationships. There are many ways that you can process the painful reminders of things that happened to you, and one of the best ways is through cognitive behavioral therapy. According to the National Institute of Health, there may be proof that utilizing these counseling strategies can ease post-traumatic stress in people who endure.


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